I Just Wanna Celebrate

 

celebrate man with hat

I’ve never cared about “doing something” when celebrating a birthday. Even birthdays that marked a decade  transition were low key, lightly acknowledged affairs usually spent enjoying the evening with my family or having a lunch with my mom and sister. Anything more seemed fussy, pretentious and contrived. In fact it’s how I was raised, birthdays weren’t a big deal. I was fine with this. It was a day like any other.

Until a friend and former colleague showed me how birthdays should be done.
I noticed when her birthday came around she celebrated the whole month. Hey when the Queen of England has a birthday she celebrates for weeks. Why not the peasants? My friend treats herself to a weekend away, sometimes arranges a dinner party at a restaurant with friends-because she loves her friends- she gifts herself mini spa treatments, anything that gives her pleasure and joy.

She is honouring her life.

I may be a slow pitch but this is kind of a revelation. Honouring my life. And what better time to make that appointment with myself than on the day I popped into the world? When I put it in this context it changes what it means to celebrate. I am allowed to honour my existence. Why would I think this pretentious? It’s my life and I’m very happy to be here!

I can celebrate the fact that I have lived yet again through another year and got to do stuff I liked to do with people I like for that whole year. I can make a wish in the hope that the next year will pan out, and that I’ll be alive to celebrate another one with those I love. At least for My Day I can be kinder to myself, be receptive and ready to embrace the positive and joyful encounters when presented, leave the dishes, and have cake for breakfast, for crying out loud.

The tough year(s) I’ve come through – still here!

So Happy Birthday to me! I’ll run with the ball for the day -(or a week or two or three) smile, be deeply grateful, and let myself maybe luxuriate if not with a spa treatment (may happen) at least in the fact that this is the youngest I will ever be.

Whoop Whoop!

How do you acknowledge and celebrate your life’s milestones and high points, how do you honor your life? Have you always done it BIG or quietly when no one is looking?

 

Whats in a Picture?

12994344_10153951642780733_6490004995807931384_n

A thousand words. His story is in the central placement of the cracked hearth, the brick and mortar, the rectangle opening on the one side of the hearth, the space between the hearths’ lamps, the blue sphere above, the ladder against the wall, the small yellow halo near his forehead, the free-form black paint strokes in the painting before him, the broom handle, the light filled open door, the placement of his face.

I was taking some Insurance pictures of the little house my  good friend here is renovating to sell, and what surprised me later when I looked at this photo was an immediate realization that the array of random objects convey so much about this man. That it’s rife with symbology. Now, I understand that a home will of course contain items that represent the individual who abides within, and because I know his story well from a 20 year friendship, in this image it’s not only the objects but also their placement within the framing that jumped out at me.

He  stays in this house only occasionally once or twice for short periods in a given year when he is not traveling elsewhere – which is most of the time- so it is sparse, containing just the basics.

 

BFF- Or Big Friend Failure

 

Image courtesy of internet
Image courtesy of internet

So, whats 30 odd years between friends?

She and I go back to grade 10, just after I moved up from California. We fell in love with the same boy, whom she won, we shared deep conversations over plates of fries, coffee and Craven M cigarettes at the Dog House restaurant when cutting classes in high school. We loved the same music and the love for writing. We both kept journals. She wrote beautiful poems and songs that she sang with her guitar. We would light candles in her room and delve into the meaning of relationships, spirituality, parents, and becoming women. Oh the drama we imagined in our teenaged world.

We were like sisters. We were best friends.

But I lost her after high school. I say I lost her because I don’t remember her leaving grade 12 earlier than the rest of us and moving to Manitoba to attend University. I wasn’t paying attention, she left my life and it seems I didn’t even blink.

Which leaves me to think what kind of friend was I? Am I?

Eight years later after high school I had bumped into her briefly on the street when she moved back to Vancouver Island. She was married and pregnant with her first, and I was a single parent with a five year old. I was awkward – I was in a confused, unsettled place at the time- and although we were happy to see each other no plans were made to get together then, and we circled out of each others lives once more.

After several more years passed I began to think of her, wanted to see if I could find her again but because of my lame inattention I couldn’t remember her married last name. So I searched FB using her maiden name – maybe she kept it- but nothing appeared. I searched our common FB friends from high school to see if she came up, not there either.

Fly ahead to 2015 I am sitting in my hairdressers chair while my colour is processing, and looking through my Facebook. The list of “people you may know” came up which I lazily scrolled through and suddenly there she was! I “friended” her immediately and anxiously awaited for her to respond, which she soon did.

We were so happy to reconnect!

Finally, we exchanged phone numbers, and talking with her I discovered she had been working for the past 8 years a mere 3 blocks away from the waterfront harbour I crossed over to each day in my boat on my way to work, but she was living south island about 40 minutes out of town.

Well. But how were we to know? She had lost track of me too.

So close but so far. She had been on FB for a year but kept a very low profile, not reaching out to our mutual high school friends until 2015. She didn’t know my married name either.

We’ve  gotten together 4 times for lunch since our reconnection, bringing each other up through the missing years. That boy she loved in grade 10 nearly evolved to marriage after high school but ended with broken hearts.

And the thought that needled me and wouldn’t lie still was, I wasn’t there for you. Not for your marriage, the birth of your son, the loss of your parents, whom I remember, the heartbreak of your divorce or your breakthroughs and accomlishments. We lost out on so much by losing each other.

This isn’t the first time I’ve let friendships from my past slip away, and most sadly some of those friendships can never be rekindled in my life again, finding out too late that illness had taken them.

That’s how much I suck at friendship. But I will strive to do better.

She and I found after all this time, all this life growth, that we still have that common ground for the unconventional, the penchant for discussion on the deep, big questions, only now from the perspective approached from experience and maturity. In fact I have since realized she is the only one I can have conversations of that nature with.

So now when we get together we engineer a bridge each time, attentive to bringing to the table the necessary tools to construct a way to cross the rushing waters that have carved between our lives. To meet in the middle and maybe, with the blessings of those two 16 year old girls, continue to walk a new road together now as women.

 

 

Being There

Sunset over Vancouver Isalnd 2016 D.K Brint
Sunset over Vancouver Isalnd 2016 D.K Brint

If you’re not up on the current stream of my life a large part of it is involved in the care for my 90-year-old mother who presently is in the hospital because of strong chest pains, blood pressure and pulse through the roof. Five days in now and those vitals have leveled out, so good.

10 years ago I never would have thought that caring for an elderly parent would be so all-consuming. 5 years ago I got a clearer picture.

Always thinking of her well-being, is she depressed and sad, does she seem more confused, the ongoing aches and pains and how to alleviate them, finding a suitable residence, the adjustment and settling (or not) in, will she ever feel comfortable in her new place, is she sleeping through the night and if not is she safe, taking care of her finances and ensuring she can live where we have moved her, how are the nursing staff doing with her, is everything getting done, getting to appointments with the doctor, making sure she is getting enough physical exercise, it goes on.

And because I have a tremendously involved sister it is a shared responsibility which is a good thing.

There is little room it seems for anything else.  My husband is working hard too and soon will be away for work for a period of time, and making space for us has been a struggle at times. He has been so supportive and understanding and accompanies me when he can when I do go to mom’s; he enjoys her and loves to see her, but also confesses that if he wants to spend time with me he needs to come along.

I am not complaining, I need to write it out. And it’s my life right now. I do try to fit in some quiet personal time where I can find it – I recognize better now when I’m reaching saturation point, and take steps to defuse.

And I know this sounds corny and high horse but I wouldn’t change a thing.

 

 

The Need to Vacate the Premises

A day in the sun

On Saturday my sister, her husband and I planned to go kayaking, they have their own and I would rent one, so Saturday morning I called the outlet only to be answered with a recorded message that they are closed for the season.

-C’mon, it’s April already! Didn’t expect that.

I was really looking forward to this, I needed this! A mini adventure, a break from my modus operandi but now that activity dashed I found myself at home with the choice of how I should spend my day, which ironically left me with indecision.

I had been ready for a great day of paddling. It was like being ready to pop a piece of white chocolate in your mouth but it’s white cheddar, tasty yes, but startling to your taste buds. So I’m eating white cheddar.

I wanted to be outside in this gorgeous sunny day, but thought I should maybe spend time at home while I have the chance since I’ve been in constant motion lately, so ok I can immerse myself into my current read in the back yard, find a patch of sun in my predominately shady yard and tuck in. Good.

Not good. My next door neighbor has fired up his chainsaw. So back in. Pace around a bit, thinking.

Hmmm, I guess I could wash the windows, or wash the pollen off the deck or work in the yard, but I really didn’t want to do anything like work today – wait, he’s stopped- alright, step outside- uh, nope, on again. This in an’ out went on a few more times until I decided leaving was the more sane alternative. My husband took the car to work yes, but I had the boat and fortunate to have a big provincial park, which is also an island, right next to me -this is where I would find my peaceful escape.

And I did. I got lots of sunshine and luscious uninterrupted reading time with a tremendous view of the water. To get out and away was just what was needed. Most times it’s the only way to ensure that getting sucked into doing obligatory tasks doesn’t overtake ones need for R&R.